The Bills and WR Isaiah McKenzie came to terms on a value deal per Spotrac.
It surprised some, in that the receiver didn’t test the free agency market for a chance to make more money playing for another team.
I’m stunned he took this over testing the market. https://t.co/GzutjJ51jc
— Joe DiBiase (@SneakyJoeSports) March 14, 2022
Pro Football Focus viewed the signing favorably as well, grading the pact as being an “above average” deal for Buffalo.
Here is what PFF said about the deal keeping McKenzie with the Bills:
WR Isaiah McKenzie: Two years, $4.4 million ($1.25 million guaranteed)
McKenzie has flashed in a limited slot role over the past three seasons, operating behind Cole Beasley in that capacity when needed. He’s earned PFF receiving grades of 75.0 or higher in each of the past two years on fewer than 300 total offensive snaps.
The Bills aren’t necessarily committing to him taking over that role full time with this type of investment, especially given that McKenzie can also contribute in the return game, but it does give them the flexibility to cut ties with Beasley if needed for salary cap relief this offseason. Buffalo could save over $6 million in 2022 by releasing Beasley this offseason, per Over the Cap.
Grade: Above average
Buffalo’s offensive potential was on full display during the team’s run into and throughout the playoffs. That included a career performance by McKenzie in the absence of Cole Beasley during their week 16 must-win victory against the New England Patriots
The team is being active this offseason in exploring possibilities to improve their short-yardage passing offense. They reportedly looked into trading for Christian McCaffrey while attempting to sign J.D. McKissic, who trailed only Alvin Kamara and Austin Ekeler in total receptions over the last two seasons.
But before doing so, they re-signed McKenzie.
With Ken Dorsey being promoted to offensive coordinator, and the team releasing Cole Beasley after granting him permission to seek a trade, McKenzie appears to factor into the teams’ immediate-future plans.
Buffalo’s offense will be guided under Dorsey with the help of newly added senior offensive assistant Don Shula, who notably coordinated Carolina’s offense in a tenure that included their 2015 season, Super Bowl appearance, and MVP year for QB Cam Newton.
To help Josh Allen achieve similar success, he’ll need continued consistent play from receiving threats.
While the front office may continue to add a dual-threat running back to their offensive group, McKenzie’s only 26-years-old and could continue to develop as a contributor in that respect. His gadget skills on running plays, familiarity with Allen and the offense, and big-play potential he showed against New England could mean more opportunities in his next two years with Buffalo.